Pat Houston (left) with Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina who accepted the Billboard Millennium award for her mother following an emotional tribute by Jordin Sparks. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Billboards2012/Getty Images for ABC)
Adele had another one of those nights at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday, taking home a whopping twelve awards including Top Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album during an evening of scorching performances by the likes of Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, a tribute to the late Whitney Houston, and a once-in-a-generation Icon Award for Stevie Wonder.
The Billboard Music Awards, hosted by "Modern Family" co-stars Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell, aired live on ABC from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Adele's bounty on the night also included Top Female Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Pop Album, for "21," and Top Alternative Song, for "Rolling in the Deep." See a full list here.
Usher performung at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Billboards2012/Getty Images for ABC)
Winners of six awards, LMFAO kicked off the night by performing their trifecta of hits ("Party Rock Anthem" / "Sorry for the Party Rocking" / "I'm Sexy and I Know It") in a neatly packaged medley complete. The duo's SkyBlu (with a new haircut) and Red Foo later took the stage to accept awards for Hot 100 Song of the Year ("Party Rock Anthem") and for Top Duo/Group, beating out Maroon 5 and Lady Antebellum.
"This is amazing. This is a dream," Red Foo said when accepting for Hot 100 Song. SkyBlu added a big up to his uncle (Red Foo) for showing him the ropes.
LMFAO and a zebra helped open up the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Billboards2012/Getty Images for ABC)
Coldplay and Lil Wayne had big nights as well, both earning four BBMAs, while Casting Crowns, Jason Aldean and Lady Gaga each received two awards. Lady Antebellum, Shakira, Wiz Khalifa, Beyonce, Foster the People and Nicki Minaj are among the artists who each won one award. Lil Wayne, whose "Tha Carter IV" earned him his third Billboard 200 No. 1, thanked [xoxoxoxo] when accepting Top Male Artist honors.
The show featured over 15 live performances from some of the biggest names in music, including live debuts from two powerhouse females. Surrounded by five chandeliers and a full band, Kelly Clarkson chose the Billboard Music Awards to showcase her next single off "Stronger," the mid-tempo "Dark Side." Wearing a floor-length red dress, the star of the upcoming ABC reality show "Duets," played it cool and collected when belting out the new track.
Katy Perry also debuted her next single, "Wide Awake" in a performance that provided the night with an added jolt with its dramatic use of aerialists whizzing around the set of smoke/clouds as she belted the second track off her "Teenage Dream: The Complete Collection."
Jordin Sparks' tribute to Whitney Houston was one of the Billboard Music Awards' most poignant moments. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Billboards2012/Getty Images for ABC)
Usher deployed 20 dancers to roll out his new single, "Scream," which in only three weeks has risen to the top 25 on the Hot 100. Minutes later his protege, Top Social Artist winner Justin Bieber (Twitter: 22M / Facebook: 43M) absolutely crushed it with his performance of "Boyfriend," which peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100.
Pop music's new guard was also represented on the night, with boy band The Wanted performing a medley of "Chasing the Sun" and their top 10 hit "Glad You Came," and Carly Rae Jepsen dialing up a bouncy run of "Call Me... Maybe," her infectious hit that is quickly gaining power on the Hot 100 -- currently No. 4.
Three of music's most influential figures passed away in recent months, and the Billboard Music Awards made sure to honor them. Early in the show, hosts Julie and Ty took a moment to recognize Bee Gee Barry Gibb, who passed away earlier in the day. Later, Natasha Bedingfield stepped in to pay tribute to Donna Summer, who died Thursday (May 17) following a battle with cancer. To honor Beastie Boy Adam "MCA" Yauch, who lost his battle with cancer May 4, the show did a bit of creative addition by having CeeLo Green and Goodie Mob added "Fight for Your Right" to their current single "Fight to Win."
Katy Perry debuted her new single, "Wide Awake" in a performance that included aerialists whizzing around the set of smoke clouds (Photo by Ethan Miller/Billboards2012/Getty Images for ABC)
To honor Whitney Houston, producers brought in a full orchestra to accompany John Legend in a performance of "The Greatest Love of All," and Jordin Sparks, Houston's co-star in "Sparkle," sang the anthem "I Will Always Love You." Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina, accepted the Millennium Award for her mother.
"I just really want to say thank you to everyone," Bobbi Kristina said, holding back tears, thanking those who stuck with her mom, "Not just when it was good or bad. She deserves it. I'm just blessed to have been in such an incredible woman's life."
Carrie Underwood blew fans away with the title track off her fourth album, "Blown Away," which has spent the past two weeks atop the Billboard 200 chart. With a wall of fans, ground fog and smoking confetti, the 16-time BBMA winner lived up to the song's title.
Other performers on the night included Linkin Park, who rocked "Burn It Down," and Nelly Furtado with "Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)." Viewers got to meet future rock stars Patent Pending, the winners of the Billboard Battle of the Bands, who hail from Long Island, NY. They cranked out a high-energy run of "Dance Till We Die."
Only a fraction of the awards of the night were handed out during the show, with Wiz Khalifa earning Top New Artist (presenter Miley Cyrus had to remind him to thank his fiance, Amber Rose) and Chris Brown taking home Top R&B Artist. Brown performed "Turn Up the Music" with the aid of four BMXers making runs on half pipe, plus around 10 dancers and a waterfall.
Presenters throughout the night represented a wide swath of the entertainment industry with Lisa Marie Presley, Miley Cyrus, Zooey Deschanel, Julianne Hough, Jason Derulo, Brandy, Kris Kristofferson and Glady Knight attending.
The evening ended on an epic note, with a multi-tiered tribute to honor this year's Billboard Icon Award, Stevie Wonder. Presented and aided by Alicia Keys, the performance began with "Higher Ground," then "Overjoyed," and a cappella version of "Empire State of Mind
The Billboard Music Awards take a holistic look at artist performance based on key fan interactions with music -- finalists and winners were determined by chart performance and social and streaming activity as chronicled in Billboard magazine and on Billboard.com during the eligibility period of March 1, 2011 through February 29, 2012. The 46 award categories were based on measures provided by our data partners including sales data shared by Nielsen SoundScan, radio airplay monitored by Nielsen BDS, streaming data measured by Tubemogul and Nielsen BDS, social media consumption gauged by Next Big Sound and tour grosses tracked by Billboard Boxscore.